A former showrunner of The Simpsons has revealed that a gag involving Mr Burns’ unusual telephone greeting is the thing he is “most proud of” from his time on the show.
The power plant boss says “ahoy-hoy” rather than “hello” when he picks up the receiver, referencing the preferred greeting suggested by telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell in the 19th century.
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Josh Weinstein, who worked on The Simpsons from 1992 until 1998 with regular collaborator Bill Oakley, said the gag came about because the duo were “obsessed with this little known fact”.
Weinstein wrote on Twitter that it was Bell’s “arch-enemy” Thomas Edison who put forward “hello” as the ideal greeting and that he saw the Simpsons gag as a chance to “even the score”.
This is it! The thing I'm most proud of.@thatbilloakley & I were obsessed with this little known fact & thought it was perfect for Mr. Burns— Josh Weinstein (@Joshstrangehill) February 26, 2020
Bell preferred "Ahoy-hoy" while his arch-enemy (and mine) Thomas Edison preferred "Hello". Edison won but we tried to even the score. https://t.co/vJePHdhhVa
During their time on the show, including as showrunners for the seventh and eighth seasons, Weinstein and Oakley were part of a number of celebrated episodes, including the Who Shot Mr Burns? two-parter and the controversial Homer’s Enemy.
The duo stood down as showrunners after season eight, but several of their episodes aired in season nine, including the divisive The Principal and the Pauper.
They would go on to serve as consulting producers on Futurama.
The Simpsons is currently airing its 31st season and is the longest-running scripted primetime series on American television.
The show is one of the major selling points of the Disney+ streaming service in the wake of the Mouse House acquiring 20th Century Fox.
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UK fans, however, are still anxiously waiting to hear whether The Simpsons will be available when Disney+ launches in Britain in March.